Special Interests Groups hit the ground at the debates - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Special Interests Groups hit the ground at the debates

Special interest groups make sure they are not forgotten during the debates. (Source: WOIO) Special interest groups make sure they are not forgotten during the debates. (Source: WOIO)
DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Of the thousands that will gather at Quicken Loans Arena during the Republican primary debates, there will be candidates and their support staff, voters, of course, and a good portion of that space - you can guarantee - will be taken up by the special interest groups that are hoping to get candidates to promote and vote for their issues. 

"What we want to hear from these candidates is that they are committed to reducing the prison population," said Holly Harris, of the U.S. Justice Action Network, or USJAN.

Holly Harris and her staff from the U.S. Justice Action Network traveled in from - where else? Washington - just like dozens of other special interest groups. 

"We should be on the ground because we really want these candidates to know that we are watching, and we are listening, and we are going to be amplifying everything that they say, and we are going to be holding them accountable," added Harris.

The U.S. Justice Action Network works to raise awareness and hopes to reform our criminal justice system. They, like other special interest groups, are looking to find allies amongst the sea of candidates. Ohio Governor John Kasich happens to be someone USJAN will be watching extra close. 

"Actually, you have a governor here that is very progressive on criminal justice reform," said Harris. 

Ohio - such a crucial state that it may be as important for special interest groups to be here as the over a dozen Republican candidates, who will be hoping to stand out to their voters.

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